Bernard “Buni” F. Willi, 92, of Chippewa Falls died Saturday, July 6, 2019, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire.
He was born Jan. 10, 1927, in Chippewa Falls, to Eda (Larson) and Henry C. Willi. He grew up in Chippewa Falls and graduated from high school in 1945. Buni began working for the U.S. Postal Service in Chippewa Falls in 1945 as a Postal Clerk, retiring as Assistant Postmaster in 1983.
Buni served briefly in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1945.
He married Marquita Gereaux June 24, 1950, at the First Methodist Church in Chippewa Falls.
Buni dedicated his life to making Chippewa Falls a better place to live. He served on the Chippewa Falls City Council and Park Board from 1965 to 1974, the Chippewa County Board from 1980 to 1988, and served as the Mayor of Chippewa Falls from 1987 to 1991.
He was a member of many organizations including: AMVETS Post 32, the American Legion Post 77, the Chippewa Falls Patriotic Council, the Chippewa Falls Main Street Program, and the Chippewa Falls Rotary Club. He was a 70 year member of Trinity United Methodist Church and served in many capacities over the years. He was a charter member of the Chippewa Falls Senior Center. His dedication to the youth in the area was evident through his 20 + years of student mentoring, mentoring more than 75 students, and his longtime membership in the Chippewa Falls Optimist Club. He was a charter member of the Chippewa Youth Football Association and over the years, coached many little league teams. As a councilman, he founded the Women’s Softball League. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year and Award for Intergenerational Advocacy. He was named Distinguished Alumni of Chippewa Falls High School. His namesake is that of the municipal swimming pool in Chippewa Falls. He was a man of great moral character and the city’s most notable ageless hero…the city of Chippewa Falls dedicated October 25 as “Buni Willi Day.”
Survivors include two sons, Brent (Patricia) of Champlin, Minn., Devin (Paula) of Hudson; grandchildren, Lisa (Marc) Fest, Kristin Willi, all of Bloomington, Minn., Jordan (Jenna) Willi of Glenwood City, Alexandra Willi of Minneapolis, Minn., and Madeline Willi of Madison, Wis.; great-grandsons, Garrett and Grant Fest; a sister-in-law, Donna Willi of Janesville, Wis.; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Shane in 1964; his wife, Marquita in 1986; brothers (sisters-in-law) and sisters (brothers-in-law), Donald (Helen), Lorraine (Douglas) McVicar, Ione (Patrick) McDonell, Robert (Lois), George, Lawrence “Pete” (Gail), Jeanette (John) Lenfestey, Dale (Delores), and Frederick; and sister-in-law, Elaine (William) Taylor.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 13, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Chippewa Falls with the Rev. Terri Koca officiating. Interment with military honors provided by the Chippewa Falls Patriotic Council will be in Forest Hill Cemetery, Chippewa Falls.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel, Chippewa Falls with a military walk-through at 5 p.m. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to the service Saturday at the church.
Memorials in Buni’s honor may be designated to the Chippewa Area Mentor Program or to the charity of your choice.